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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

16 May 2002

Cutting Greenhouse Emissions, Not the Budget


The Howard Government has underlined its commitment to fighting the effects of climate change with record expenditure through the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) of $113 million in 2002/2003.

This represents an increase of nearly 20 per cent over this year's levels. This is part of the Howard Government's commitment of almost $1 billion since 1997.

It is nonsense for Labor to suggest that the Greenhouse Office is "shrinking". In fact its expenditure has grown year after year - from $52.5m in 1999-00 to $81.7m in 2000-01 to $96.5m this year. The AGO is continually expanding its programme expenditure as the alternative energy and emission reduction technologies come on stream.

Contrary to Labor's claims, there have been no cuts to the funding of greenhouse programmes, with the exception of a small saving of $5.7 m as a result of non-performing contracts.

The rephasing of money reflected in the Budget is regarded by the AGO as a more sensible pattern of expenditure given the stage of development of the greenhouse gas emission abatement technologies and businesses. Labor's rhetoric amounts to nothing more than the claim that money should be spent whether or not it can be spent on quality projects.

The Government is keen to ensure that it achieves its objective of maximum greenhouse gas abatements for the $400 million in funds allocated under the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme and has developed a rigorous framework for these grant programmes.

Further, consistent with best practice grants management, payments under these programmes are provided on the basis of the achievement of project milestones. With most projects having milestones delivered over 3 to 6 year periods, funding must necessarily be extended across the forward years.

Grant funding already approved includes:

Funding of $107m approved under Round 1. Under negotiated Deeds of Agreement for these grants, payments will be made upon the achievement of milestones, not upfront. Payments for this round are scheduled from 2001-02 through to 2008-09.

Funding of $48m under Round 2, with payments also to be on the basis of achievement of milestones. Payments for this round are expected to commence in 2002-03, finishing in 2006-07.

Due to the efforts of the Howard Government, Australia is among the world leaders in formulating strategies to combat the effects of climate control. The Howard Government remains committed to working to achieve our Kyoto target, whether or not the Protocol comes into force.

The Howard Government's environment budget does more than any previous budget to set Australia on a path to sustainability.

DUMB AND DUMBER . . .

Who does Kelvin Thomson think he's fooling?

The Member for Wills cannot even read a budget document. He sees cuts where there are actually increases.

This week's environment Budget - of $1.8 billion - is the greenest ever, by the greenest ever Australian government. It continues the Howard Government's proud tradition of providing record levels of funding for the environment, year after year.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia